Facial skin becomes less elastic with age, smoking, and exposure to the elements. The best way to tighten facial skin and avoid the need for a facelift is to minimise the risk of it loosening in the first place.
Avoidance of sunlight, smoking and the use of a good cleanser, exfoliant, retinol, antioxidant and SPF is important from the mid to late 20’s.
Once the skin is already loose there are surgical options to tighten face skin without surgery. Non surgical, energy based devices (radio frequency, ultrasound) stimulate new collagen production and contraction giving some benefit. Medical microneedling may also help by stimulating collagen repair after specifically directed trauma. Surgical treatments for loose skin involve repositioning the underlying muscles and fat and trimming any excess skin followed by a tightening of remaining skin.
How safe is a facelift?`
Very, but the patient must be properly prepared both physiologically and psychologically well in advance of the procedure. At PHI we do not use general anaesthetic. By removing this part of the surgical process many of the traditional risks are minimised. At PHI, the surgeon performing your facelift only does facelifts, day in day out. You can be assured of an expert facial plastic surgeon; not a jack of all trades.
What are the possible risks of facelift surgery?
The risks relate to the local anaesthetic and the surgery. Local anaesthetic can sting temporarily. It can also make the facial nerve sleepy for a few hours. This resolves completely within a few hours.
As far as surgery goes the main risks are bleeding, infection and damage to deeper tissues. Bleeding is minimised with the local anaesthetic technique and water dissection of the skin. No drains are needed, and no overnight stay. Infection is a very rare complication, <1%, and easily treated with oral antibiotics.
Damage to deeper structures really means the facial nerve – the nerve that makes us raise our eyebrows and smile. The technique that we employ to lift the face means that permanent facial nerve injury is very, very unlikely to happen. As the facelift patient is under local anaesthetic she/he can move the face on command so that we know the nerve is fine at every step of the facelift. Temporary weakness may occur due to stretching or local anaesthetic but this recovers quickly.
What about scarring after an facelift?
Scarring is inevitable. There is no such thing as scarless surgery. At PHI we can look to tighten face skin with the procedure and also reduce the scar further if necessary. The key is scar placement and meticulous closure technique, as well as appropriate after care. After 6 months the facelift scar should be almost imperceptible and hidden behind the hairline and in the contours of the ear.